Creating a Culture
The service mentality that has defined the company since its earliest days continues to drive the evolution of the Cosentino’s portfolio. The company understands that it is not just in the grocery business. It recognizes that it is in the business of creating relationships with people.
“We strive to hire and train the best people while taking care of the customers and building relationships with vendors and suppliers,” Cosentino says. “Everything we do is focused on treating people the best we can so they want to be around us. One of our biggest advantages is that service culture.”
Cosentino’s has been able to find many different ways to continuously reinforce that culture throughout its different store models. The Price Chopper model is its main format, which is a conventional, price-based, ad-driven supermarket format.
As for the Sun Fresh and Apple Market stores are smaller-footprint neighborhood stores. Meanwhile, the company’s Cosentino’s Markets are more of a unique, specialty market format.
Not every store is exactly the same, however. The company works hard to make sure that each store is tailored to the community it serves. Cosentino’s has always sought to be involved in its neighborhoods, as it is a very community-minded organization.
“When a customer walks in, they can see many of our fresh food departments,” Cosentino explains. “We put a lot of focus on prepared foods and high quality perishables, and we are starting to re-locate health foods into new healthy living departments.”
Cosentino’s management team works every day to understand what the customer wants and stay on top of what is happening in the industry.
The company frequently tries new concepts, and it is expanding prepared food options such as pizza, pasta stations and grilled foods. Cosentino’s also believe in remodeling and keeping the stores up to date.
“Over the past few years, we’ve remodeled all of our stores,” Cosentino says. “Customers appreciate seeing new things and adventures. We want customers to be excited about food, and we do a lot of product demonstrations. Our customers should be wowed when they walk out of the store, which takes good people and quality products.”
The company will soon be adding two new locations to its footprint. One of the stores will be another Price Chopper location in approximately 70,000 square feet and about 30 minutes from Kansas City. The other will be a Cosentino’s Market in Johnson County, Kan.
“In that new store, we are looking at including amenities such as a 50-foot hot prepared foods counter with all kinds of different offerings,” Cosentino says. “It will be another special store.”
As the company looks to the future, it is well aware of the changes that are taking place in the shopping habits of its customer base. For example, Generation Y and millennial shoppers are looking for more prepared and healthy food options, and they may shop more frequently and with smaller baskets.
“We are always working to figure out what customers want,” Cosentino says.
“By bringing in a director of social media, we feel we can reach out to the younger generation and we can reply when we are mentioned,” he adds.
Each location has its own social media presence, and Cosentino’s director oversees them all. The company is also looking at online shopping and will be ready to add that when it is needed.
“It is our goal to stay on top of generational change and remain in tune with our shoppers and their shopping patterns,” Cosentino says.
“Social media and digital marketing will help us to be sure that we are always providing everything that our customers want,” he continues.
Cosentino’s truly maintains a passion for its business. The company continues to invest in technology that provides the best ROI and to control costs, which allows it to keep prices low for customers.
“We are using the online employee training platform Learn Something to keep our team up-to-date on new policies and procedures,” Cosentino says.
For the remainder of 2015, Cosentino’s Food Stores will continue to work on establishing segregated healthy living departments within each of its stores. The company will also engage in SKU rationalization efforts. In so doing, it will be able to take out slower-moving products and make sure it has the right items in the right places. Although there are challenges for Cosentino’s to face, the company believes service will always differentiate it within its markets.